Monday, November 9th, 2015

NOFRO – Just Say No to Frozen Pipes!

Planning now can save $$$ this winter.

In winter, things freeze. We protect our cars against fuel line freeze-up, we protect ourselves against frost bite. Before things get too cold, taking a few steps now can ensure that your pipes are protected, too. Ice water in the pipes can create expensive, time-consuming problems that are easily avoided. Below are a few tips.

1) Insulation – According to wikihow.com, “insulate all water pipes from cold moving air and keep them dry. Be aware that insulation alone does not prevent freezing, it only slows down the transfer rate of heat to cold.” Pipe insulation is readily available at any good hardware store.

2) Warmth – Assuming you have electricity (many frozen pipe incidents happen during extended power outages), heater tapes wrapped around the pipes may be helpful. Follow manufacturer instruction as the tapes must be carefully applied in order to be effective. If your power is out for an extended period and you are concerned about frozen pipes, contact a plumber and request assistance.

3) Keep the Water Moving – If heat is unavailable, open the tap so that a slow, constant drip takes place; moving water is unlikely to freeze. If you have two taps (such as a bathroom sink with both hot and cold handles), start a slow drip on the hot side faucet, then a faster drip on the cold side faucet.

4) More Insulation – Certain areas are prone to cold (crawl spaces, outside walls, basements. Add insulation as needed to help protect your pipes from becoming overly chilled.

5) Thawing Frozen Pipes is Tricky – If your pipes are frozen solid, visually inspect them for splits or holes. Once the water is flowing again, these will become leak points. Turn off the water at the main, place a bucket under the hole, and contact a reliable plumber for assistance. Most plumbers will tell you that thawing is a process that needs to be handled carefully to prevent damage (flooding, fire, carbon monoxide poisoning). Never attempt to use kerosene heaters, welders, torches, or other fuel-based tools to thaw frozen pipes – it’s dangerous. In almost every circumstance, the area (read: the air) surrounding the pipe needs to be warmed; never the actual pipe.

6) Outside Spigots – ALWAYS disconnect the garden hose before winter temperatures set in. Trapped water in the hose can freeze, expand, and back up into your piping, causing a burst line.

Water You Waiting For? Frozen water pipes in the dead of winter are more than annoying, they are expensive, time-consuming and potentially dangerous. If you have problem pipes, call Ray to learn how Allied’s plumbing team can keep your water flowing. (513) 396-5300.